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Prevalence of microsatellite instable and Epstein-Barr Virus-driven gastroesophageal cancer in a large Belgian cohort

Journal Volume 85 - 2022
Issue Fasc.1 - Original articles
Author(s) S. De Meulder 1, X. Sagaert 2, H. Brems 3, C. Brekelmans 3, P. Nafteux 4, B. Topal 5, C. Verslype 6, S. Tejpar 6, E. Van Cutsem 6, J. Dekervel 6
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(1) University Hospital, Gasthuisberg, Gastroenterology, Leuven, Belgium
(2) University Hospital, Gasthuisberg, Pathology, Leuven, Belgium
(3) University Hospital, Gasthuisberg, Human Genetics, Leuven, Belgium
(4) University Hospital, Gasthuisberg, Thoracic Surgery, Leuven, Belgium
(5) University Hospital, Gasthuisberg, Abdominal Surgery, Leuven, Belgium
(6) University Hospital, Gasthuisberg, Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Leuven, Belgium

Introduction: Patients with gastroesophageal adenocarcinoma (GEC) with microsatellite instability-high (MSI-H) or Epstein Barr Virus positivity (EBV+) might be good candidates for immunotherapy. Incidences of about 10% have been reported for both features, but are dependent on geographical region and disease stage.

Aim: The aim is to study the prevalence of MSI-H and EBV+ in a Belgian single center cohort of patients with GEC.

Methods: We retrospectively assessed the files of all patients with a newly diagnosed GEC between August, 1st 2018 and February, 29th 2020 at the University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium. Microsatellite instability (MSI) status was determined using immunohistochemistry (IHC) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). EBV+ was assessed using in situ hybridization (ISH). A case report is provided to illustrate the importance of testing for MSI in GEC.

Results: 247 gastroesophageal adenocarcinomas were included in this analysis. 62 (56% stage IV) of those were tested for EBV, but only 1 turned out to be EBV positive (1.6%). 116 patients (44.0% stage IV) were tested for MSI, of which 11 were MSI-H (9.5%). Half of the MSI-H tumors identified were at the gastroesophageal junction (GEJ). A patient with MSI-H metastatic GEC obtained a complete response with nivolumab, which persisted after discontinuation of treatment.

Conclusion: While we confirm that about 10% of GECs are MSI-H, the incidence of EBV+ in our cohort (1.6%) is clearly lower than expected. Given the important prognostic and predictive implications, every gastroesophageal cancer should be tested for MSI.

Keywords: real world incidence, checkpoint inhibitors, molecular subtyping, upper gastro-intestinal tumors.

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
© Acta Gastro-Enterologica Belgica.
PMID 35304987